“He’s old enough to be your father,” Mrs. Moore told her niece.
“His age matters naught to me, Aunt Heloise,” Elena replied.
“His daughters will have none of it. They will think that your affections rest upon his fortune rather than upon him.”
Elena closed her book and rose to her feet. “Upon my honor, that isn’t true. My feelings for Mr. Saxby perfectly genuine. Like his age, his wealth means nothing to me.”
“I believe you, Dear but his daughters shall not. They shall persuade him that you are not a suitable match and that he should marry a woman close to his age and with a fortune to match his.”
“Mr. will not allow his daughters or anyone to interfere with his affairs. He is as devoted to me as I am to him. He is determined that we should marry. He will announce his plans to his daughters this evening.”
“Well, I hope for your sake that he will not be moved by their objections or persuasive arguments. I must say, though that I’m not at all pleased with this match. You’re a young and pretty girl. There are so many suitable young men with whom you could have set your cap at like Mr. Bentley. Such a nice and amiable young man and then, there’s Mr. Foster who’s so very handsome and charming and Mr. Allen who–“
“Please, Aunt Heloise. I shall hear no more talk about other men. I have as you say, already set my cap. I love Mr. and I shall marry him.”
“Oh, well, I don’t suppose there’s anything I can say or do to change your mind.”
“What other objections do you have against Mr. beside his age?”
“I have no other objections.”
“Well, then, Aunt Heloise, I hope that I shall have your blessing.”
“I shall give it if it make you happy.”
“Then, you have my blessing.”
“Oh, thank you, Aunt Heloise.” She hugged her. “Mr. will be so pleased. He will here at three to ask for your permission.”
“He will have it and some tea as well.”
“I’m too elated to continue my book,” Elena. “I shall take a turn in the garden.” She hustled out of the room, leaving her aunt in a rather pensive mood.
At two-thirty, Mr. took the carriage to Mrs. Moore’s home to ask her permission to marry her niece, Elena. After being widowed for over ten years, he never imagined that he would contemplate marriage again and then he met Elena. She was young and beautiful and a breath of fresh air.
They met at one of Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins’ extravagant dinners. Elena was there with her Aunt and he was there with his daughters, Imogen, Jane and Beth. Elena was sitting beside him and they engaged in conversation. Afterwards, the company dispersed with the men retiring to the parlor and the women into the drawing-room.
He decided to invite Elena and her Aunt for dinner a week later. It was a pleasant affair. His daughters were amicable towards them, that is until he began to show a particular interest in Elena above Mrs. Miller whom he knew had a very high regard for him. As soon as the company was gone, his daughters reprimanded him sharply. “Father, she’s too young for you,” Jane said. She was the oldest and acted like more like his mother than his daughter.
“And poor Miss Miller. She looked positively heartbroken over the attention you were paying to Miss Vickers,” Imogen interjected.
“Shame on you, Father,” Beth scolded him. “I think you behaved rather badly towards poor Miss Miller.”
“I think you ought to go and apologize to her,” Jane told him.
“It was not my intention to slight or injure Miss Miller but I cannot and will not pretend to have a regard for her. That would be unforgivable. If you like, I shall visit her and explain the matter to her. And she being a very sensible woman will reach an understanding which will be agreeable to us both.” And he excused himself and went into the study where he remained for the rest of the evening until he retired to bed.
In spite of their objections and displeasure, he courted Elena. And when he was certain of her feelings for him, he asked for her hand in marriage and she readily accepted. And now, he was on his way to see her aunt who was her guardian. He hoped that she would not withhold his happiness from him by refusing to give her niece’s hand in marriage because of the vast age difference.
It was never his intention to fall in love with a young lady who was the same age as his second daughter, Imogen. Until now, he too would have had a problem with one of his daughters marrying a man much older than she. He hoped that their desire for his happiness would outweigh their objections to the source of his happiness.
The carriage pulled up outside of Miss Moore’s home. He climbed out and started up the path to the front door. From the balcony, Elena watched him, her heart pounding with excitement.